Ingmar Bergman / SWE, 1949
Swedish version / Czech and English subtitles, 81 min
A psychological drama of the type director Ingmar Bergman would become famous for later in his career, Three Strange Loves was adapted for the screen by Herbert Grevenius from four short stories by source writer Birgit Tengroth. In this film, Bergman depicts the three heroines' emotional struggles with astuteness and finesse. Rut and Bertil, played by Eva Henning and Birger Malmsten (Bergman's leading man of choice in several of his early features), play a couple whose marriage is in a detrimental state because of their inability to conceive a child. During the train ride home after a vacation spent in Italy, they express their loathing for one another, and Bergman then introduces (in flashback) Bertil's former lover Viola, whose unhappy involvement with a manipulative psychologist and a lesbian dancer mirrors Rut's own romantic disappointments and emotional despair. (As in the director's much acclaimed psychodrama Persona, the two women's personalities eventually appear to merge.) The arts--especially the performing arts--as an insufficient vehicle for selfactualization (the central three female characters in this film were all once aspiring ballerinas) is a recurring theme in the Bergman canon, and ballet in particular is the artistic medium also featured in Summer Interlude.